A new 30-second television spot against expanded gambling in Maryland — funded by West Virginia casino owner Penn National Gaming — makes its point by challenging an earlier ad by the other side.
What the ad says: The spot, called "Empty Lot," asks viewers if they've seen an ad claiming job creation and other benefits that would come if Question 7 is approved and Baltimore's casino is allowed to offer table games. That ad by gambling supporters was set in the vacant lot near M&T Bank Stadium where the Baltimore casino is to be built
The new ad says of the previous spot:
"It's filled with more empty promises from Baltimore developers. They promised to build a new casino in Baltimore. But construction hasn't even begun. Now, they want a tax bailout from Maryland taxpayers. Even though the legislature just raised taxes on working families."
The facts: Construction has not begun on the casino authorized for downtown Baltimore in a 2008 referendum. The process of awarding a license took years longer than expected.
It's not clear which "developers" the ad is referring to. An affiliate of Caesars Entertainment was awarded a license to open the city casino only at the end of July. There was no expectation that the company would have begun construction by now. Caesars says the project is on schedule.
It is true that Caesars will get a reduction in the state's 67 percent slot machine tax if Maryland voters allow a new casino in Prince George's County, which likely would cut into Caesars' revenue in Baltimore. But the nonpartisan Department of Legislative Services says it would not characterize that provision of the law as a "bailout."
The legislature did raise income taxes this year on individuals making at least $100,000 a year and families earning $150,000.
The ad quotes a Baltimore Sun editorial as calling Question 7 proponents' claims "hooey." It's true that the editorial used that word in opposing Question 7, but it also said "there's plenty of hooey to go around" on both sides of the issue.
Analysis: The ad seeks to make the case that because the Baltimore casino hasn't created many jobs yet, voters should be suspicious of any claim that a casino will create jobs in the future. It should be noted the ad was paid for by a rival casino company.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times